New guidelines developed by the Academy show the relative safety for women with epilepsy to become pregnant, but caution against taking one particular epilepsy drug, which can cause birth defects. The guidelines, developed in full collaboration with the American Epilepsy Society, were published in the April 27, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, and were presented at the AAN's Annual Meeting in Seattle.
The guidelines were also published electronically in Epilepsia, the journal of the International League Against Epilepsy. They represent an update of the 1998 guideline, "Management Issues for Women with Epilepsy." The new guidelines, known collectively as "Practice Parameter: Management Issues for Women with Epilepsy—Focus on Pregnancy," recommend that women with epilepsy avoid taking the drug valproate during pregnancy.